Nonstationary dynamics of encounters: Mean valuable territory covered by a random searcher

Campos, DanielBartumeus, FredericMéndez, Vicenç. Physical Review E 96 : 032111 (2017)  DIGITAL CSIC

Inspired by recent experiments on the organism Caenorhabditis elegans we present a stochastic problem to capture the adaptive dynamics of search in living beings, which involves the exploration-exploitation dilemma between remaining in a previously preferred area and relocating to new places. We assess the question of search efficiency by introducing a new magnitude, the mean valuable territory covered by a Browinan searcher, for the case where each site in the domain becomes valuable only after a random time controlled by a nonhomogeneous rate which expands from the origin outwards.We explore analytically this magnitude for domains of dimensions 1, 2, and 3 and discuss the theoretical and applied (biological) interest of our approach. As the main results here, we (i) report the existence of some universal scaling properties for the mean valuable territory covered as a function of time and (ii) reveal the emergence of an optimal diffusivity which appears only for domains in two and higher dimensions.